The special election for the District 1 seat left vacant by the death of former Calhoun County Council Chairman David Summers will be held Tuesday, July 12.

Richard Carson won the special Republican primary held May 17 to become the GOP candidate for the seat.

He will now face Democrat Ronald Johnson. Johnson was the only Democrat to seek the District 1 seat.

Cameron, Creston, Lone Star, Midway and St. Matthews will be the precincts open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 12.

For more information, the Calhoun County Voter Registration and Election Office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The office is located at 102 Courthouse Drive, Suite 115, in St. Matthews.

The office can be reached by phone at 803-874-2929 or 803-874-2435.

Richard Carson

A lifelong Calhoun County resident, Carson is a Clemson University graduate who retired after working more than 33 years with the Food Lion Distribution Center in Elloree.

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He thanked all the voters who selected him in the primary election and said his decision to run for the seat was not an easy one after a career spanning more than three decades.

“I ultimately decided to run because I wanted to support, give back and protect the community I have lived in all my life, which includes local EMS, sheriff’s department, firefighters and our teachers and education system,” Carson said.

He said those public services need the support he could help provide.

“I believe these essential public services need support in resources, help with recruitment and financial backing from the county in order to achieve their goals. One of my biggest priorities is to continue the county’s strong financial position,” Carson said.

“I know this is imperative for the continued success of the county,” he said.

Carson said one of the biggest challenges facing Calhoun County is the growth coming from areas such as Columbia and Charleston.

“This growth will continue. So as a councilman, I plan to embrace it, have in place policies and guidelines that support sustainable growth. I want to ensure that Calhoun County’s rural lifestyle is preserved,” he said.

While he has not ever held a political office, Carson has been active in many local community organizations and served on various boards.

For example, he served as a board member of the Elloree Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, S.C. Pork Board and the S.C. State Cattlemen’s Association. He is also a past president of the Orangeburg Area Cattlemen’s Association and Calhoun County Farm Bureau.

“I will work cooperatively with other members of county council to make sure the county continues to be a great place to live and raise a family. I will have an open mind, respect others’ opinion and work to create opportunities in Calhoun County,” Carson said.

“As a councilman, I plan to work for and listen to concerns of all citizens of the county,” he said.

Carson has been married to his wife, Tina, for 26 years, and they are the parents of two sons, Hunter and Kyle.

Ronald Johnson

Johnson is a lifelong Calhoun County resident who said he is running for the District 1 council seat because he wants to do his part “to keep Calhoun County valuable and moving forward.”

“I see an opportunity to make it even better. I also see significant challenges coming before Calhoun County, and I am seeking a seat on council because I’m willing to roll up my sleeves to help Calhoun County continue to thrive,” he said.

Johnson is a retired deputy sheriff of the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office and is currently employed as an officer with the St. Matthews Police Department. He is a graduate of Calhoun County High School and attended Claflin University, where he studies sociology and criminal justice.

“My focus is on key issues like public safety, valuable wage jobs, population growth, affordable houses for families and the elderly and the expansion of small businesses and policies,” Johnson said.

Johnson says he will bring his experience to the job.

“I have experience in serving the citizens of Calhoun County as a former police officer and county deputy sheriff. That lends itself to this position. Having been a police officer and sheriff’s deputy in city and county government, I have the knowledge of the position and knowledge of governance of local government,” Johnson said.

He also says he has leadership skills.

“People respect me, and I always let the people know I want to be a servant to them,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he would like to work with all neighborhood leaders on ordinances that preserve neighborhoods.

“I want to continue to make the resources necessary to have a responsive sheriff and fire department. I want Calhoun County to work diligently at bringing capital improvement projects to my district, our county and to boost our economic support of public education and to create jobs,” he said.

Johnson said he wants to ensure the county takes care of rural areas like District 1.

“I’ve seen many other districts get taken care of, but not the rural area where I live at,” Johnson said.

“That’s why the citizens came to me and asked me would I run for county council because they need to have a voice and get things done,” he said.

As a law enforcement officer, Johnson said he has worked hard daily “championing the needs of our community and getting us results.”

Johnson says he doesn’t make promises, but he will do his best to get things done. He also says he’ll have an open-door policy.

“The most important thing is I will not wait until an election comes every four years to meet with my constituents,” he said.

Johnson said the voters should hold him accountable.

“I will do my best to address any issues of the people of District 1. I will always tell them truth. I will never tell no lie at all. I will always be straightforward with the people that live in my district. If I don’t do what I am supposed as your county councilman, then I ask you to not to support me and vote me out the next time,” he said.

Johnson is a member of St. Paul Baptist Church in Elloree, where he is an associate pastor. He and his wife, Jacqueline, are the parents of two daughters, one son and the grandparents of five.

Johnson is a graduate of the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy and has several other affiliations, including: volunteer chaplain of the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office; honorary member of the S.C. Sheriff’s Association; honorary member of the S.C. Troopers Association; member of the S.C. Firefighters Association; president of the Pineland Community Crime Watch Group and member of the King Solomon Masonic Lodge #22.

Johnson is also a volunteer firefighter with the Fort Motte Volunteer Fire Department; member of the Calhoun County First Steps board; member of the Calhoun County Disability and Special Needs Board; chairman of the Calhoun County School Improvement Council board; and an executive committee member of the Calhoun County Democratic Party.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5534. Follow “Good News with Gleaton” on Twitter at @DionneTandD

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